CycleKyoto HP LInk

Friday, August 16, 2013

Kyoto Daimonji Gozan Okuribi Sacred Fires

Kyoto Daimonji大文字五山送り火

Tonight there will be magic in Kyoto.

The annual Daimonji festival takes place tonight from 8 pm.

Every August 16th, giant Chinese characters carved into the hills that surround Kyoto are lit on fire.

This night is the climax to the annual Bon holiday, which is Japan's All Souls Day. The dead come back once every year, and tonight the fires are lit to guide their return to the other world.

From around 8 pm, the characters are lit in order, beginning with Dai (the character pictured above).

With the exception of well-positioned hotel rooms, it is very difficult to see all of the fires.

Our personal favorite spot is along the Kamo River near Demachiyanagi. Crowds come and sit along the banks of the river, drinking juice and beer.

The atmosphere is hushed and respectful.


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